Funny how secrets travel and even funnier that so many of us enter “adult” life without any practical knowledge of how to deal with people.
The maleducation system makes everything so structured and restricted that kids can’t build effective mechanisms for self-direction. Parents abdicate responsibility for teaching essential social skills and strategies that make your life easier and prepare you for the cutthroat nature of many careers and professional environments.
To make a long story short, it’s a mess.
I’ll write a lot more about getting your portfolio of social skills fully invested and diversified with good practices that level up your life.
For today, I will just share two absolutely life-changing social skills that I wish my parents taught me but never actually did.
Probably because they weren’t all too aware of how important these skills are. I don’t think many parents have a good grasp of their significance.
The social skills come down to two very simple rules:
- Don’t try to help people who don’t want to be helped.
- Don’t ask permission to go after your essential goals.
A huge proportion of resentment, conflict and pointless argument in life comes down to violations of these two principles.
Understand that other people aren’t you, and most of the time you know too little about the lives even of close friends to be able to offer them effective help or advice.
And when you do have something to offer, it might only stir bitterness by highlighting other people’s inability or unwillingness to handle their own problems. Your competence sets you apart as someone better, and people can seldom resist taking you down a notch for it.
Accept that most of the time people’s problems are a direct result of their own refusal to take responsibility. Who doesn’t want to be helped cannot be helped. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way just to prove this fact.
This rule applies in the reverse as well.
Most people are too stupid, cowardly and self-absorbed to be able to help or encourage your success. Asking permission (often in the form of advice) is asking for trouble. So-called adults these days can’t take responsibility for their own lives; don’t ask them to take responsibility for yours or you may suffer well-earned consequences.
When you’re asking permission, you’re also implicitly attempting to transfer responsibility for your decisions onto something else. No wonder people get cagey and aggravated when you do that, especially when uninvited to.
This applies with special gravity to your job. Most bosses just want things to happen and don’t want to be bothered with how.
There are times it makes sense to bring people – friends, family, business partners – in on your plans, but they are few and far-between.
But this is much rarer than you might suspect, so overtalking it and overthinking it will only aggravate and disappoint.
If you really want something, you’ll do it anyway. So don’t be a hypocrite and get into action.
And these two social skills no-one ever talks about are just the tip of the social mindberg.
A lot more is on the way for supporters on Patreon.
If you enjoyed my tweets on the 48 laws of power, you will enjoy even more the full length book, which I will be writing directly on Patreon, by supporters’ request.
Make a pledge here to get access to that exclusive series: https://www.patreon.com/startupdaemon